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Ithaca College faculty express 'no confidence' in president

Solvejg Wastvedt
WSKG News File Photo
Ithaca College President Tom Rochon

A large majority of Ithaca College faculty voted “no confidence” in college President Tom Rochon in a vote that concluded last week. Results were announced Monday. 

In a press release, members of the IC Faculty Council said 78 percent of the full-time, continuing faculty who participated in the vote cast their ballots for "no confidence." Four hundred and six faculty voted out of the 469 who were eligible. The turnout rate was 86.6 percent.

The vote was open to full-time faculty. Adjunct faculty were not invited to participate.

In a separate release from a group called Faculty@IC, department of politics Professor Peyi Soyinka-Airewele called the vote "a signal of our unity and a clear statement from our newly empowered voice."

Attention turns now to the Ithaca College Board of Trustees, who ultimately control Rochon’s job. 

In an interview, Professor Mary Bentley said either way, faculty efforts will go on.

"Regardless of what they do, we’re pretty clear about our commitment on campus and...we’ll go around or over this leader." Bentley said faculty are now coming up with a list of next steps. 

Last week the student activist group People of Color at Ithaca College staged a multiple day occupation of the college administration building. The group continues to call for Rochon’s resignation following a student vote in which 72 percent of participants voted “no confidence."

School is ending for the semester, so it’s unclear where this movement will go. Finals finish this week. Ithaca College resumes classes at the end of January.

In an interview with Binghamton public radio stataion WSKG earlier this fall, Rochon said he would not resign because of any confidence vote and talked about his desire to increase cross-cultural awareness training among faculty, as well as hire more faculty of color. Here's part of a statement Rochon put out on Monday: 

The message that has come through to me in the form of the student and faculty votes has been a difficult one to hear, but I am listening. I understand that many people on our campus are frustrated with the pace of change and with my own role in effecting it. I remain determined to improve Ithaca College's culture for the better, and that includes improving my own approach to interacting with our faculty, staff, and students.